November 18th, 2016

A Collision of Expectations

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This article is written as the contribution to GIIC as their commissioner.

The world’s economy is quickly approaching a potential crisis, and the impact could be far reaching. The crisis stems from a collision of conflicting expectations involving one of the largest economies ever, and includes tangible, large-scale impacts on real communities. At this late hour, it is unclear whether the crisis can be averted and if so, what the consequences of trade-offs might be.

In July, 2001 China concluded negotiations with the World Trade Organization (WTO) and an agreement was ratified in December, 2001. Part of China’s understanding was that they would be granted Market Economy Status (MES) on the 15-year anniversary of the agreement, which will occur in December of this year. However, that understanding is not held by the other countries of the WTO and this disagreement has the potential to significantly impact economies around the world.

The accession to WTO opened up opportunities for Chinese industries, but has also brought about a number of unintended consequences. In the 90s, Europe was moving aggressively towards the use of renewal green energy, however manufacturing of solar cell in Europe was very costly because of the European environment protection regulations. The Europeans found a manufacturer in Wuxi, China who was able to provide solar cells very cheaply because of China’s less restrictive environmental protection regulations. The manufacturer became very successful and soon other companies began making solar cells. Unfortunately, the new manufacturers did not seek to enhance the original product, but chose to simply produce exact copies, which is usually the case in China. The “copycat” mindset often leads to overcapacity, and such was the case for solar cells in Wuxi. The European Union took notice of the situation and in 2011 cut back on demand, resulting in a large glut of solar cells, causing prices to plummet by nearly half.

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July 31st, 2016


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这里风景太漂亮了。这5天走过拉萨(罗布林卡和大昭寺)、纳木错、桑耶寺、 雍布拉康、羊湖。如果自己开车自驾游,路上的风景美如画。



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October 11th, 2015

What is “China’s Citizen Scores”?


By now, many people have heard of the implementation of China’s “Citizen Scores” that has been making rounds. I become curious and did some investigation of my own.

As a boy scout as a kid, we used to play a game around campfire. The adult would form two teams and make two lines with 10 kids. He would the whisper the same exact message to first kid of the two teams, whereby they would repeat it to the next kid and so on until the last kid have to write the message down on paper. We always have a good laugh what comes out at the end compared to what went in.

“Citizen Score” is what happens when official news gets reposted, added with the journalist opinions, mixed in some new information (relevant or not), and repeated the process 10 times. To make it worst, most journalists in the process didn’t bother to, or was not able to do fact checking as the source is in Chinese.

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June 2nd, 2015

What’s going on in China domain name industy?

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Recently, there have been a lot of noise about China tightening control on new top levels and how it could severely damper domain names registrations in China and one should make preparation for the worst.

Initially, I tried to stay out of this as I know all the players behind this. But given there are at least 3 people who have email me to ask me what’s going on, I think let me clear the air here.

It started with a report by Brandma on China’s “Special Operation” to regulate Domain Name Registrations which warns that “Getting the license requires understanding on how the regulatory system works and how one should respond as it evolves. It’s also like a mini ICANN application process, but this time in Mandarin.”

Contrary to these “doomsayer” report, there is really no need to panic.

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October 15th, 2014


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August 27th, 2014


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在互联网精神的核心下我们有了一张巨大创新能力的网。 有开源的Linux,免费的邮箱(SMTP),也有了腾讯,阿里巴巴与百度这些伟大的互联网企业。



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August 1st, 2013

China’s Category of Telecommunications Services

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This morning I read a catchy titled article on CircleID “China Closing the Door to New Technologies”. I was trying to make sense of what’s all the fuss is about …

So I called up my friends in Ministry of Industry and Information for lunch to find out what’s going.


The document is called 电信业务分类目录 (Category of Telecommunications Services) that is now calling for public comments. This has been something MIIT have been working on for a quite some time now. Many companies, domestic and international companies, have been consulted and provided feedback before this publication.

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April 24th, 2010

.中国 and .台湾

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Finally after months of hard work from many people, in front and behind the scene, the ICANN board finally resolved:

* Therefore, it is RESOLVED, (2010.04.22.10), that CNNIC be notified that the .中国 (xn--fiqs8S) and .中國 (xn--fiqz9S) IDN ccTLD request has completed the Fast Track String Evaluation and that they may enter the String Delegation step in the Fast Track Process, using the standard IANA ccTLD delegation function, and that delegation is contingent on completion of the IANA process criteria and publication of CNNIC’s detailed Implementation Plan to be finalized in consultation with ICANN.

* Therefore, it is RESOLVED, (2010.04.22.11), that TWNIC be notified that .台灣 (xn--kpry57d) and .台湾 (xn--kprw13d) IDN ccTLD request has completed the Fast Track String Evaluation and that they may enter the String Delegation step in the Fast Track Process, using the standard IANA ccTLD delegation function, and that delegation is contingent on completion of the IANA process criteria and publication of TWNIC’s detailed Implementation Plan to be finalized in consultation with ICANN.


February 20th, 2010

Making sense of Sino-US relationship

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US strategy towards China has been particularly confusing to many people. It is strange that the two major economic power of the world today would taunt each another in so many different issues. This UK Guardian article nicely summarized the situation.

This dysfunctional, agitating approach to Sino-US negotiations and communications only continues to erode the relationship between the two countries, which has already been weakened recently as a result of US comments over internet censorship and the sale of arms to Taiwan. This should not become the normal way for the two nations to engage, particularly when it comes to bilateral issues.

One obvious difference between US and China is the ‘Culture Differences’. ‘Culture differences’ is often used to explain the disagreement but seldom really understood. The background and construct of the political system between the two country couldn’t be greater, that leads to misunderstanding and mistrust.

Let me give two examples:

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May 31st, 2009

Fixing North Korea Mess

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Asia politic is something close to me that I followed quite closely although not something I often blog about.

Yesterday, I tweet: *doh* When would US clueless hardliner learn how to deal with #China? RT @CNBCtopStories: Knocking Down the China Myth

I am not surprised that Tony Fratto, ex-Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Press Secretary for the Bush Administration would take a hardliner view on China. He is absolutely right that China did not buy US debt out of altruism and it is in China self interest to continue to do so.

For those interested, one should read the excellent article by Paul Krugman China Dollar Trap.

But what he is wrong is the attitude with the assumption that US is in the position of strength in the negotiation. Squandered by the 8 years of Bush administration, in global goodwill as well as economy strength, US has to come to terms with the new reality.

Still, people in Washington continue to believe that US has the power to command or the very least, to bend China to her will, as we witness in the latest saga with the North Korea.

Washington’s think tanks are concerned with North Korea’s nuclear missile test, as Defense Secretary Robert Gates “raised the idea of a tougher approach toward North Korea’s recent nuclear test … including the prospect of building up United States military forces in the region should six-nation diplomatic talks with North Korea fail” (JS: ST reported Gates does not plan to build up American troops in the region…Hmm…)

At the same time, they are appealing publicly (and privately) that China should do more in the saga, and it is not in the interest for China and US and China must stand up to North Korea togther.

Promfret got it absolutely right that when he say “First, there’s a silly assumption in Washington that our interests (no nukes in North Korea) are the same as China’s. But they’re not. China’s first interest in North Korea is making sure the Kim regime doesn’t collapse. China’s second interest? Making sure the Kim regime doesn’t collapse. From Beijing’s perspective, nukes in North Korea rank somewhere around 10th.”

Asian mentality on society values stability above anything else. I quote Kishore Mahbubani “An imperfect government that commits some human rights violations is better then no government, in many societies”.

China emphasis of Harmonious society is a broader reflection of that philosophy. Western interpret that as working towards a better society of equality, freedom and prosperity. Chinese understood it as tolerance for imperfection in society and when inequality occurs, look at the cup half-filled not half-empty.

North Korea having nukes? Okay, bad idea but chances that North Korea will unleash it in China is next to zero. A unstable North Korea is far more dangerous to China. A known devil is better than an unknown friend.

So Washington’s think tank who really think China will do anything to step into the affair right now is just dreaming in their ivory tower. And as I noted early, US is no longer in the position of strength to bend China to its will.

China needs US as much as US needs China, economically. One is a producer, one is a buyer. One is a lender, and the other is a debtor. The two economy is tightly coupled and therefore, one yield to the other not because of differences in power but in the mutual interest of both party.

US may have greater military power over China as a whole. But with a war in middle east, and a mess-up economy, China know US cannot sustain a (cold) war in the Far East. US “threats” of greater US military presence is at best laughable.

Japan, who is traditionally US ally in this region, is also mindful of China rising power is also evaluating their position. Japan is honestly concerned over North Korea but unfortunately has little clot in the matter beyond making motherhood statements.

It is left to South Korea who feel the immediate threat to flex its military muscle with US support. North Korea immediately responded that South is nearly an act of war.

Perhaps that’s what Washington has in mind all along. Not exactly what I like to see but perhaps that’s what it takes to bring China to do something.

* Also read the excellent article by Eric Anderson.